Piet Hein

(December 16, 1905–April 17, 1996 / Copenhagen)

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A Psychological Tip


Whenever you're called on to make up your mind,
and you're hampered by not having any,
the best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find,
is simply by spinning a penny.
No -- not so that chance shall decide the affair
while you're passively standing there moping;
but the moment the penny is up in the air,
you suddenly know what you're hoping.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, October 03, 2011

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  • Daniel Brick (10/15/2014 4:04:00 AM)

    This is a clever poem, but not in an alienating way. The poet takes us along for the surprise he has planned, he's laughing with us, not at us. You think he is suggesting we surrender to a chance solution but it's just a ploy to get us
    to a point where our minds are unfrozen. And the solution was there all along. (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (10/15/2013 10:47:00 AM)

    But if it spins and falls the wrong side
    And you be dead against the choice
    Then back to square one to decide
    Whether to toss again till you get it right! (Report) Reply

  • Karen Sinclair (10/15/2012 5:09:00 AM)

    Wonderful, optimism on the spin of a coin... this really made me smile as it states to me that he did not like confrontation so preferred to pass it to the gods, so to speak passing the buck... but the end completes by suggesting a childlike manner who just likes to let things ride and looks up wide-eyed to the sky.... lovely little piece which purely by the subject matter feels like it was written in the 70s- where most seemed to have an obsession with coin spinning...tyvm karen (Report) Reply

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